Leaf on the wind
- Feb 20, 2011
In my personal opinion I also believe that a full life sentence with no possibility of parole is wrong for exactly the same reason, justice should be about redemption, reform and (if possible) reconciliation, not revenge. Of course some people cannot be reformed and will never show remorse so I guess for that reason life in prison is always going to be an option even if I still disagree with what it stands for morally. But I'd make damn sure that was the case before I sentenced any individual with that kind of no-way-back finality. However, in either case, it doesn't change my mind that state sponsored murder is just wrong and allowing people to come and watch is just sick.Does life imprisonment not also exclude any chance of reform? And if you honestly think that paedophiles and terrorists and serial killers can change, try inviting one over for coffee sometime.
No, revenge is NEVER a good motive. While it is true that I would personally wish nothing but ill on a person who had done what you describe there, that is exactly the reason why relatives of victims have no say in what happens to the guilty party. Just because I would want him dead from my attached and irrational perspective does not mean that it is the just thing for the state to do.Simple revenge, in these cases, is a pretty good motive. If your son or daughter were raped and murdered (example) you would agree. You've also failed to highlight a clear distinction between justice and revenge, since we're supposed to see one.
I would have thought the difference between justice and revenge was simple. As I said above, justice should be about redemption, or at least making sure no-one else gets hurt. When you factor in the death penalty, further people are being hurt, and when we start talking in terms of who deserves to die, or who deserves to have a friend or relative be killed, in the name of justice, then we are on a very, VERY, slippery slope.
Justice should only ever be constructive, whilst revenge will only ever be destructive. Revenge only ever creates more suffering and loss, and will make the friends/family of the original guilty man feel like they're the ones who have been wronged, and then they will want revenge. Revenge also rarely provides the people who seek it with the peace that they need. Seeking it, and exacting it only tarnishes people and brings them down to the level of the person they wanted revenge on.
Murder is murder and I don't care how you try to dress it up! In fact, I would argue that a state that has capital punishment is in some case worse than the people it executes; because then the state isn't just a murderer, it's a hypocrite too.And society is automatically better, because it isn't the belligerent party. The criminal goes out and commits a horrific offence, society then reacts with what at most amounts to an infliction of equal harm. Being in that position, i.e. not having done anything wrong to begin with, means an automatic moral high ground unless the response is vastly disproportionate. Killing a killer clearly isn't.
If you are a leader then you lead by example. It's that simple. The death penalty is not leading by example, simply ruling through the threat of force. No matter how hard it is sometimes and no matter how much you may want to just take an eye for an eye, leaders must remember that this will always do more harm than good. It negates any prospect of redemption (no matter how small it was in the first place), It harms people who have done nothing wrong (ie friends/family of the guilty man), it undermines the respect you can command as a leader, you can never be 100% sure you are not condemning an innocent to death for a crime they did not commit, and it won't help the victims, no matter how much they may want it.
In my opinion there are two, only two justifications in this world for killing another man. (1) If your life or the life of a loved one is in direct danger from the person in question and it would not have been easier to incapacitate them in any other way (this is self-defense), and (2) If you are a soldier/policeman and taking the life of one armed enemy combatant (NOT IN COLD BLOOD) who could not be detained will save the lives and livelihoods of many innocents in the near future (that is higher duty). neither of these apply to capital punishment!
P.S. Just in case you were thinking of hitting me with the 'death-penalty solves overcrowding issue' argument, I have 3 points in response to that...
1. America is a bigger fan of capital punishment then any other country in the western world, but also has the most serious overcrowding in prisons of the western world. So it clearly doesn't do it very well.
2. If I were the one making these decisions I would abolish many of the smaller, bullshit prison sentences (seriously whats the point in sending a minor offender to prison for 6 months to a couple of years? What does it achieve? It's just a waste of time, money, and cell space) in favor of out-of-prison alternatives. This would free up MUCH more space than capital punishment does as minor sentences are a lot more common than death-row sentences, and therefore allow more deserving criminals to be kept inside longer than they are now.
3. What kind of BS excuse for cold-blooded murder is that 'it's more convenient'?!?!